[ mot-l ]
/ ˈmɒt l /

verb (used with object), mot·tled, mot·tling.

to mark or diversify with spots or blotches of a different color or shade.


a diversifying spot or blotch of color.
mottled coloring or pattern.

Nearby words

  1. motser,
  2. mott,
  3. mott, lucretia coffin,
  4. motte,
  5. mottelson,
  6. mottled,
  7. mottled enamel,
  8. motto,
  9. mottramite,
  10. motty

Origin of mottle

First recorded in 1670–80; probably back formation from motley

Related formsmot·tle·ment, nounmot·tler, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mottle

  • Ginsburg put up his gloved hand and wiped clean a face that with passion had turned a mottle of red-and-white blotches.

    From Place to Place|Irvin S. Cobb
  • Let God make His sunsets: I will mottle my little fading cloud.

  • Gangs of buffalo, herds of antelope, and droves of wild horses, mottle the far vistas.

British Dictionary definitions for mottle


/ (ˈmɒtəl) /


(tr) to colour with streaks or blotches of different shades


a mottled appearance, as of the surface of marble
one streak or blotch of colour in a mottled surface

Word Origin for mottle

C17: back formation from motley

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for mottle
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper